Cheerleader Forced Into Splits?

Megan Durrett


    Cheerleading is a worldwide sport that is ranked number one in female sports and number two for most catastrophic injuries in all sports. Only American football tops cheerleading in catastrophic injuries (

    Yet, who would have thought the reason for these injuries is strictly based upon the cheerleader’s coaches? “Coaches don’t want to be in trouble for hurting kids,” said National Council of Strength and Fitness founder, Kimberly Archie.

    This is exactly the case with Ozell Williams — one of the cheerleading coaches at East High School in Denver, Colorado.

    Williams has a similar past as he used to coach athletes in the gym. Julie Ledbetter, the gym’s owner, says she once caught Williams saying something very inappropriate.

    “They would go to do things and if they would stop, like they would go into a tumbling pass and they would stop, and he would be like, ‘I’m going to punch you in the face if you don’t do it next time,’” Ledbetter said.

    “You don’t tell kids you’re going to punch them in the face if they can’t pull the skill.”

    This was unsuitable for a coach to say because he was telling a minor that he was going to physically hurt a young person if she was incapable of throwing a skill, Ledbetter explained.

    All of this controversy started with a video going viral on the internet. A thirteen-year-old girl by the name of Ally Wakefield was recorded while Williams was allegedly forcing her into the splits.

    Wakefield screamed, ”Please stop!” while she continued to cry and whimper. Williams said she kept pushing and paid no attention to her desperate pleas for help.

     Williams reported to the Denver Post, “You can definitely say that what was in the video could be seen in a different light. I would love to tell my story, but I can’t say anything else at this time,” replied Williams, regarding the video.

    “He was pushing down on the back of my right leg,“ said Wakefield in an interview with her mother and two other teammates with their mothers as well.

    “He was pushing, like with his other knee on my back trying to try to keep my back straight. It was tearing my ligament and my muscle at the same time,” Ally finished.

    Kirsten Wakefield later said, “This is a grown man pushing my girl so hard against her will while she’s crying and screaming for him to stop that he’s ripping tissues in her body,” Wakefield’s mother reflected, commenting, “It blows my mind. I don’t understand why this man is still employed there.”

     “I shouldn’t have to be afraid of High School Cheerleading and he just makes it so I am,” said the younger Wakefield.

    In an interview at Desert Pines High School, this reporter asked some varsity cheerleaders at the school about this issue.

    Hitting close to home, Brianna Jamerson, a sophomore at Desert Pines,  said, ¨I feel like this was not necessary. It was wrong of the coach to do that to the cheerleaders.¨     

     Jamerson also said, ¨If I were in that situation it’s hard to say what I would do. I would try to fight it off the hardest I could without injuring myself even further.

    ¨Another cheerleader at Desert Pines, named Yisy Lopez, also a sophomore, commented, ¨If this happened to our cheerleaders, I honestly don’t think the school would be very happy. They don’t want to see a cheerleader, let alone anybody in the school, getting hurt or being forced to do something they don’t want to do.”

    The last Desert Pines cheerleader interviewed was Mar´Shay Bradford, a junior, ¨If this were to happen to me I, would have quit and sued. Even if I wasn’t the one being forced into the splits I still would have quit along with reporting the coach.¨

     The employees who knew about Williams forcing Wakefield into the splits are being put on academic leave. This story should be brought to Desert Pines High School because the school does not want our cheerleaders or athletes to experience what the cheerleaders at East High School in Denver, Colorado went through.